The Walking Dead’s zombies at the bus stop
To promote the new series to its Austrian fans, The Walking Dead took to scaring the living daylights out of people, again…
Those waiting for the bus in Vienna were led to believe that the dreaded zombie apocalypse from their nightmares had started right before their very eyes. This was all thanks to Sky Austria and Fox who clubbed together to use zombified augmented reality technology at a bus stop in central Vienna.
The augmented reality “Scary Shelter” was super-imposed over the actual street; the installation, which horrified people for two days, combined zombie footage shot for the campaign with a real-time feed of the Vienna streetscape, terrifying unsuspecting people waiting for the bus.
One iteration of the advertisement saw a commuter mauled to death by zombies, whilst another saw a didisheveled (to say the least) zombie banging and screaming at the screen. Enough to send a chill down the spine of even the most thick-skinned of folk, for sure.
A particularly vigilant passer-by equipped himself with his skateboard ready to save Vienna from the influx of zombies, only to discover it was in fact all a digitally-enhanced hoax. And much like Syfy’s Killer Shark stunt, the older lady didn’t seem as phased by the whole affair. Apparently youngsters need to toughen up…
Once they had recovered from their ordeal, passers-by could "appear" in the horror story, and have their photos taken in it.
We’ve seen this sort of augmented reality installed at a bus stop before by Pepsi – but, zombies made for a terrifyingly impressive stunt from The Walking Dead. Scaring your fans to death sure is an interesting approach for getting them talking about your brand or product – it certainly falls under the ‘surprise’ element of experiential marketing, but we’re not so sure of the ‘delight’…
The Walking Dead’s marketing team has quite a penchant for attention-grabbing experiential marketing campaigns; did you see its merchandise store that accepted blood as currency? Or how about the prank where New Yorkers were accosted by the bloody hands of zombies from a subway grate?
With nearly 30 years of marketing experience, both client and agency side, I’ve acquired a rare perspective on brands and business: I believe you have to challenge things creatively if you want to grow sales. Consumer technology is reshaping our world, and it’s only the great brands that stay on the crest.